Have a friend who had a 96, and was NC A class H/S champ with it. He called it a "tractor". Said it was unstoppable. He replaced it with a 99 300exc because if anything the 360 was too much but, he rides VERY tight woods. I never heard him say anything about a reliability problems.
I have a '96 360EXC. It's very tractable, almost four-stroke like down low, and hits like it's on nitrous with a good twist of the throttle. The suspesion is very plush--very good in whoops and trail junk, but it will bottom on an mx track. Because of the wide ratio gearbox and large tank, I average 70-90 miles on a tank of gas. And it's very reliable: I'm still on the origional top-end.(Someones gonna flame me for that.) The rear shock is excellent, and the forks are extremely plush, but just a tad soft if you weigh as much as I do. (190). Hope this helps!:D
Fork seals WILL wear fast if they get dirt in them. The trick on this bike is putting fork boots on to keep the forks clean. And yes, they are Marzocchis.
I forgot to add one more thing: 360s are finicky on the jetting. You need to run the pilot a little fat, run a leaner needle, (next size down from stock), and do some high speed runs on the main to do some plug readings. Once it's close they run great.
I had a 96 360. Stock, the motor is choked up terribly. A FMF pipe and silencer(youhave to have both because the pipes are different size) is worth 7 horses. A 15 mm reed spacer smoothes and extends the botom end pull. I sold the bike last year and it was still on the 1st piston. The best needle for the Pacific Northwest was a 1468 , 55 or 58 pilot and around a 172 main. I still feel this was a better motor than the 380, it didn't have the chunky big-bore feel the 380's all have. The rear Ohlins is fair but undersprung, the front fork needs a little work in springs and valving( I weigh 220) but it was my favorite big bore untill I got my 520 MXC.
FMF Gnarly and Turbine Core, reed spacer, and a lot of time with the jetting will yield an awesome bike. I had Jeremy Wilkey redo the fork, can you say plush and progressive? Don't let any of the "real big bore" crowd try and convince you it's not in the same league because it's all that and more, or should I say less. As in less weight, less gyro effect, and better suspension with all the power delivery you could want.
I had to put a FMF pipe and a reed spacer on mine, along with jetting changes to get to run well. Still mine was hard starting and would like to stall breaking into turns. I heard a decompression hole drilled in the jug helps this. I guess the 380's have this stock. I have a 380 now, and do not have those problems.
I owned the 96 360 E that "Murph" mentioned earlier. I absolutly loved the bike. The points which were brought out already are the same things I would mention. After setting up with the proper spring rates, the suspension was fantastic. Put fork boots on it and never had a problem with leaking seals. The jetting was tough to get right. I could not start it in gear very often. It does not like to be kicked and kicked . You must be deliberate with a full kick from TDC and she would fire 1st kick everytime. Had a stator go bad after 3 yrs. ($139) It was a pure tractor. I could lug it all day like a 4 stroke but could let it rip when I had the room! Never had a hill it couldn't climb. If you think you can ride it like a 250, no way. If you can get the rpms up that high, you better have plenty of room to stop! I also had trouble stalling when I first got it. If you touch the rear brake at slow speeds, it will stall. I got used to it and after the 1st couple of rides had it figured out. Just alittle clutch and throttle work. The reed spacer does help in the jetting and the FMF combo worked great. A decompression hole can be machined to help start up and stalling. I have alot of information on the bike still (Mag write ups) If you are interested in any info, email me and let me know your questions. If you have a fax, i can send you all the info I have. I still wish I never sold the bike.
99 300 EXC email@example.com
Rick, why do you regret selling the 360? What sort of terrain are you riding in? (my husband's trying to work out what to do at the moment, 97 360SX - he's finding it takes too much out of him & often steals my KDX for an "easy" ride where the bike doesn't want to take off leaving him behind - he's about 70kg/140? lb). I know the EXC & SX's are real different, but your comment has awakened my curiosity (I don't want him to regret changing bikes if possible).
As for his bike, FMF pipe & muffler, decompression hole (new cylinder - yes the 380s have the hole stock), 10oz flywheel weight, stock suspension.
I weigh 210-215 w/o gear and I had the EXC. At 140 lbs, I'll bet the SX is a handfull !! I primarily rode/trained in tight woods, raced harescrambles. Very little motorcross. It was a handful in the woods at times but was perfect for those mountain races. (which a majority of our HS races are)My main regrets about selling were:
1) I like big bore bikes and this one was perfect. Great low end controllable torque. Could ride it like a 4stroke and be lazy.
2) Was perfect for some of the mountainous/hilly play riding areas we go to.
3) Loved the suspension
4) After 3 yrs had it dialed in perfect for me. Never left me stranded in the woods.
5) It was the 1st bike I bought new and the 1st KTM I owned. (Never cared about any of the other bikes I sold. Maybe thats the main reason why I regret selling it. My 300 EXC is a much better all around bike and I am much faster on it)
6) People thought you were crazy for riding a bike with all that power!!!!
7) It was paid for!
I am currently saving up my allowance to buy me a new 4stroke next year. I am keeping my 300 and adding a 400EXC to the stable! As I get older, I am having more fun at trail rides with my buds then race practice and training with my racing buddy. The 300 EXC is a great all around bike with open class power and is much more controllable in the woods and quicker than the 360. I am leaning towards the 4strk due to its ability to be ridden for a longer period of time without wearing you out as much as well as great low end lazy power!!
I agree that the 360 is much harder to ride than a 250 or 300 in tight stuff, but the trade-off is the kind of power that will get you up any hill your skill level will allow, (it's never because the bike is not capable!), and I ride just for fun, so the feeling of that rush of power coming on hard is what I enjoy, not fast lap times. I also live in the desert where I have places to open it up and flat freakin' fly! Besides, when we hit the powerline road it's fun to just run it hard through the gears, then look back at my buddies on their 250s choking in my dust and dodging the huge rocks I'm kicking back at them.:p
I purchased the reed spacer from Holeshot. You should also be able to order it from your KTM dealer as well. I believe it is listed in the engine parts book. After I put the reed spacer in, I did not change the jetting.
99 300 EXC